Working on a drill rig requires a great deal of skill and most certainly a ‘safety first’ attitude. With drilling and sampling an essential part of any ground investigation, understanding how to act in a safe and responsible manner around a rig on site is fundamental.
On every ground investigation project, contractors are duty bound to deliver a site induction to educate clients, engineers, site personnel and any other person on site of the potential hazards.
In addition, The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations 1998 (PUWER) outlines the duties of those operating work equipment and machinery. These regulations require that equipment is: maintained safe for use, in a safe condition and used only by people who have received instruction and training; and accompanied by suitable safety measures such as protective devices, markings, warnings.
As an extension of these duties, SOCOTEC’s UK resource manager, Gareth Mews, has introduced a new scheme across all of SOCOTEC’s ground investigation projects to ensure everyone working within the vicinity of a drill rig is given a rig induction. In doing so, the client, internal and external staff and stakeholders can all be aware of the biggest potential hazards on site - the drill rigs.
Elaborating on the scheme, Gareth commented: “The potential risks associated with ground investigation works go beyond slippery work surfaces or fatigue. If organisations are inducting people with generic site safety procedures, then it is equally important – if not more so, given the potential risks – to introduce all of those on site to the potential hazards associated with working on and around the drill rig.
“It’s a case of making everyone aware of the potential dangers and equipping them with the basic knowledge of rig safety protocols. No person should enter the danger zone without the express permission of the Lead Driller and said danger zones should be made clear - but it’s important that this information and other instructions are transparent from the beginning to avoid unnecessary accidents.”
The Drill Rig Induction Scheme was recognised at the 2018 British Drilling Association (BDA) Awards for SOCOTEC’s safety improvement & initiative.
The drill rig induction is not the first innovation of SOCOTEC’s to improve safety processes for drilling practices. In 2017, SOCOTEC trialled several preventative safety protoypes to affix to the drill rig, following an accident elsewhere in the industry, in which a cable percussion driller lost his thumb. The Anti Whip-Check Bar was recognised by the BDA when it won a Safety/Improvement Award at the 2017 event.
More recent acknowledgments of success include David Strong, lead driller for SOCOTEC having worked with the company for over 25 years, who was highly commended for his contribution to drilling. Stephen Tomlinson, principal geologist for SOCOTEC, also took home the Lifetime Achievement Award, for his 40-year service to the drilling industry. SOCOTEC is delighted to have taken away three awards at the BDA awards this year, and are keen to continue introducing innovative practices to improve the drilling industry.